SCOTLAND: Industrial Bio Center Eyes 1,500 Jobs
Scotland biotech may be best-known for Dolly the Sheep, but a coalition of institutions and businesses is working to raise £55 million ($91 million) in public and private funds to show the country can also be a global leader in industrial biotechnology capable of creating 1,500 jobs by 2017.
The new Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) will be based at the University of Strathclyde, which will coordinate activity from all 13 Scottish higher-education institutions active in biotech research. Founding companies are GlaxoSmithKline, global chemicals giant Ineos, and Edinburgh-based Ingenza, which applies synthetic biology to industrial processes and products.
IBioIC CEO Roger Kilburn told GEN the center is actively supported by more than 30 companies, from startups to multinationals—and will engage with all biotech activity in Scotland, not only industrial or white biotechnology, but agricultural (green), marine (blue) biotech, and human health (red).
“Its role is one of accelerating the development of a manufacturing base using biotechnology,” Kilburn said Wednesday. “Biotechnology is a very fast developing science and potential disrupting technology. However, there are significant technical and engineering hurdles to overcome to enable the widespread industrialization of this technology beyond high-value pharmaceutical applications.”
Through knowledge exchange and access to research and skills programs, IBioIC plans to help members accelerate their commercialization of biotechnologies.
The projected 1,500 jobs include research activities, resultant manufacturing industry enabled by IBioIC, and indirect jobs created as a result. While research jobs will likely be both public and private, all manufacturing and indirect jobs are expected to be private-sector.
IBioIC won a first investment of £10 million (about $17 million) from the Scottish Funding Council. Another £45 million (about $75 million) is expected from member contributions and government funding agencies such as Research Councils UK, the Technology Strategy Board, and the European Union’s Horizon 2020.
In November 2013, Scottish Enterprise launched its National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology, aimed at developing a £900 million ($1.5 billion) industry by 2025.
“IBioIC is a key and integral part of delivering this strategy,” Kilburn said.
Do you think the job losses announced in January will be regained later this year?
No, not at all
No, it will take longer than a year